English family enjoys country life in Tattingstone

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by P.Mody & L.Yau

In April of 2010, Sally Buckton did not receive any presents for her birthday. Instead, she went out to town and treated herself to four squealing piglets. These pigs became the newest members of her growing “zoo.”

While she had never dealt with such livestock before, animals had always been her secondary companions. Although she knew that she would eventually have to slaughter and sell the swine, Buckton was conflicted due to her growing attachment to her new pets.
“I [didn’t] think I [could] slaughter them, because they [were] quite sweet,” she said.

Alternatively, Buckton bought four new piglets which were “even cuter” than the ones before. This eased her initial discomfort, so she had less reservation about the butchery.

Buckton admitted, “That has been my theory ever since–when it comes to having some killed, I get the little cute piglets in so all your attention goes onto them and the big ones you can just let go.”

Growing up on a farm in northern England, Buckton had always “raised and reared” animals. Having moved to Tattingstone17 years ago, Buckton created a “whole zoo of animals,” housed in the land behind her home. The “zoo’s” residents include three dogs, a cat, four tortoises, eight ferrets, a tawny owl, tadpoles, rabbits, guinea fowl, runner ducks, snakes, and many pigs.

She laughed, “I was not far short when I said ‘zoo’…I’m bonkers!”

She not only cares for her own animals, but also “rescues, rehabilitates, and releases” other creatures such as small owls.
However, Buckton’s life is not limited to just her farm. She has previously worked in the field of physical therapy, trained people in business and accounting, and was employed by an electricity and industry company. She currently serves as the governor of the school that her children Emma (age 10) and William (age 6) attend.

Indeed, it is a “total commitment” to simultaneously work as a school governor, be a full-time mom, and manage a farm. However, “a good calendar, a good schedule,” and a good sense of humor help her balance this hectic lifestyle. Buckton jokingly added that another important skill to possess is “knowing how to apologize because [she’s] generally always late.”

Her children are also involved in taking care of the animals and thoroughly enjoy this lifestyle. When asked what her favorite part of farm life was, Emma simply responded “everything, really.”

Emma and William are even competitive when it comes to selling products. They have what they call a “war of the eggs,” where they vie for the greater egg sales, free-range chicken for Emma and guinea fowl for William.

The family takes pleasure in their idyllic lifestyle, selling their products throughout the week from unmanned stands. Passersby merely select produce and leave their payment in a box. Although they lead a busy life, the family enjoys it.
Buckton lightheartedly explained, “it’s because we’re mad.” William adds, “that’s just us!”

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